How do you babywear in cold weather? As it turns out, there are many options.
- Babywearing outerwear specifically designed for accommodating the two of you and the babycarrier. Babywearing outwear comes in the form of coats, sweaters, jackets and ponchos. Some are for cooler weather than others. Some are water resistant. Some are made from natural and some from synthetic materials.
- Babywearing covers that cover the baby and baby carrier for warmth, but do not cover the babywearer (who would wear their own coat).
- Larger winter coats for the babywearer to wear that are big enough to close around baby as well, so that both are inside the same coat. Mens coats, swing coats and A line coats are all good options, buttoned up just as far as baby’s neck. As baby and wearer would be sharing the same head hole, it may be necessary to wear a scarf or shawl to cover your neck and chest between the two of you.
- Traditional shawl, poncho, or pashmina can be wrapped around both of you. Wool is an excellent material for warmth, water resistance, and breathability.
- Bundling baby within the carrier, and wearing your own coat on top.
Some people do their bundling (mother and baby in winter gear) and then put the babycarrier on top of all the coats, as in the photo above. This is not my favorite option as coats can be slippery and unsafe to babywear over, and the bulk can make it tricky to get a comfortably tight carry. It also eliminates the babywearing benefit of having baby close enough to hear your heartbeat, smell you, etc. Also, your warmth is the best way to keep your baby warm so I like to avoid layers between you. However, in some circumstances it works great and it is nice to have the option.
If you want to wrap over Winter gear, consider that you may need a longer wrap than you are used to (or learn shorter carries that you can do with your wrap). You will not have as much flexibility once you are bundled up, so opt for simple carries with fewer layers or easy to spread passes. And look for warm sweaters, jackets, and coats that are not too puffy or slippery for you both to wear under the wrap, like sweaters and fleece.
You should also think about whether you will want yourself and baby to stay bundled up when you get to your destination.
If you’re going to the mall or grocery store, you’re not going to want to be wearing coats when you get there, and you will probably still want baby wrapped up when you get there, so it will be most convenient to NOT have baby bundled up inside the wrap. One coat over both of you is easiest to remove and carry.
If you’re wearing your toddler to the park where he will want to get down and play, then you will want baby out of the wrap, but with his own coat. I find it works well to wrap the baby up with his arms out of the wrap, and then put the coat on outside of the carrier. His arms will go into the sleeves, hood will go over his head, and the coat will remain open, covering his back outside the wrap while his front is toastily pressed against yours. When you get to the park, you pop him out and you and he leave your coats on and button them up at this point.
Front Cross Carry is the perfect winter carry because it is “poppable” which means that you can tie it on at home and put baby in or pop baby out without retying. This makes it very fast to come in and out of a wrap so that you and your baby are not shivering in the cold while you get wrapped up.
Keep in mind that babies are not supposed to wear coats in carseats if the seat belt has to be adjusted looser to accommodate the extra bulk. A blanket over top of the baby once strapped in is a safer plan. So if you are driving, you want the easiest way to keep baby bundled up on the way to the car, and from the car to the house, without a baby coat or bunting. If you don’t have other things to carry or other kids hands to hold, and your car is just out in the driveway, it may be easiest to simply carry your baby in a blanket or under your coat, climb into the car, close the doors, and get him buckled in and tucked in. When you get to your destination, you can either wrap baby up while sitting in the back seat (may take some practice or a roomy vehicle), or carry bundled baby into the mall (for example) and then wrap him up once you are inside.
If you like the idea of a babywearing coat, but lack the funding, consider making your own: